By the numbers - A look back at the Road to BAL 2022
ABIDJAN (Cote d'Ivoire) - The qualifying phase for next year's edition of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) - known as Road to BAL - came to a close over the weekend in Johannesburg, South Africa with some interesting figures and facts.
This article brings you things and numbers that you need to know about this year's Road to BAL.
It's the number of teams that competed in the 2022 Road to BAL.
Those teams were as follows: Abidjan Basketball Club (Cote d'Ivoire), Stade Malien (Mali), Elan Coton (Benin), AS Nigelec (Niger), Bangui Sporting Club (Central African Republic), Nueva Era Basket Club (Equatorial Guinea), Espoir BC (Gabon), Urunani (Burundi), City Oilers (Uganda), Army Basketball Club (Tanzania), Matero Magic (Zambia), Club Ominsport Police Nationale (Madagascar), Kenya Ports Authority (Kenya), NBA Academy Africa, Djabal Club (Comoro Islands), Cape Town Tigers (South Africa), Ferroviario da Beira (Mozambique), Association Sportive Sale (Morocco), Seydou Legacy Athletique Club SLAC (Guinea), and Forces Armee et Police (Cameroon).
Palais du 29 Juillet in Niamey, NIger
It's the number of host cities. The four Preliminary Round groups took place in four African cities, namely Niamey (Niger/Oct 21-23), Yaounde (Cameroon/Oct 12-14), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania/Oct 28-30), and Antananarivo (Madagascar/Oct 21-23), before the East and West Divisions Elite 16 Rounds were held in Abidjan (Nov 14-19) and Johannesburg (Nov 22-27).
It's the number of games played throughout this year's Road to BAL qualifiers.
Although some teams reached the defining Elite 16 Round undefeated, that was not the case in the knock-out stages, where no team stayed perfect. Each team recorded at least one loss throughout the qualifying process.
This is the number of teams that qualified for the BAL 2023. Those teams are Cape Town Tigers, Ferroviario da Beira, City Oilers, Abidjan Basket Club, SLAC, and Stade Malien.
This is the number of teams that will participate in the BAL for the very first time after successful Road to BAL campaigns.
Those teams are Abidjan Basket Club, Stade Malien and City Oilers. 3 is also the number of teams that are returning to BAL for the second straight time. Those teams are Cape Town, SLAC, and Beira.
Matero Magic, who finished 0-3 in the Group Phase, Elan Coton who won one of their three games in the Preliminary Round, and the NBA Academy Africa, are the three teams that benefited from FIBA Africa invitations to participate in the Elite 16 Round.
Last year's BAL quarterfinalists AS Sale and FAP qualified automatically for the Elite 16 Round by virtue of playing in the BAL last season, but the two sides failed to qualify for the BAL 2023.
Both Urunani (5-3) and Bangui Sporting Club (5-2) won five of the games they played in the Road to BAL, but even so, they fell short when it mattered most in the Elite 16.
Abidjan Basket Club and Cape Town Tigers protected their home court by being crowned champions of the East and West Divisions of the Elite 16 in front of their home fans. While the Ivorian champions sealed an 81-70 win over SLAC in the West Final, in the East Cape Town saw off Ferroviario da Beira 81-71.
Evans Ganapamo had a jaw-dropping performance in the Final of the East Division Elite 16 as he sparked Cape Town Tigers to an 81-71 victory over Beira.
The Central African Republic international player had a 12-for-24 shooting while making 8 of his 16 three-point attempts to finish with 34 points, the most of any player in the entire Road to BAL process this year.